By Michael Richards
As discussed in our October, 2007 Memorandum to Clients, like they did in their initial foray into the debt collection world a couple of years ago, the Feds are not relying solely on their in-house resources these days. Rather, they have embraced the spirit of outsourcing, and have enlisted various private companies to try to increase revenue collection.
Some collection calls may come from the Treasury, or from companies to which Treasury has "referred" the "debt" in question. But you should also be aware that the FCC itself has out-sourced its own pre-Treasury-referral collection effort. At least some of the FCC’s private posse whom have identified themselves, in dunning calls and emails, as being associated with "Perot Systems". The Perot folks have apparently been given space at the FCC, as their caller ID’s show FCC phone numbers and their email addresses end with "fcc.gov". So if you get a call from somebody at "Perot Systems", you should recognize that it’s probably the FCC’s hired guns.
Of course, as we mentioned in the Memo to Clients, a lot of the FCC’s claimed delinquencies are simply wrong. In many cases, the debt was already paid, or was not even owed in the first place!
Although it’s a hassle (and possibly an expense) to respond to incorrect demands for payment, do not ignore collection calls or letters. You’ve got to answer, unless you want to fall into even a bigger dark hole, with the Treasury Department (or possibly some company to which Treasury might assign the "debt") stalking you. Once in that situation, it can take many weeks to clear things up as Treasury and the FCC each will tell you to call the other until the computers fully update. And while you wait, you may well be kept from any action on any application. Bad news, that.